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Legality vs Morality

A dear friend and brother of mine pointed me in the direction of this topic. Not a week goes by that I don’t see/hear of some example of injustices in our world. What makes it more disheartening is when the strongest defense of such actions is almost often….”it was conducted within the rules of the law”. I get that we are a litigious society, however if your best defense is the legality of the action, it speaks poorly of your moral compass.

Such scenarios are not that different in the workplace. Except, I am referring to rules that impacts the morale of your people. As a younger manager, I recall denying an employee a vacation request because it fell outside the established parameters. Yes, I operated within the rules of my company, but a wiser me now knows that the employee, team and company would have been better served if I had found a way to fulfill their request.

My point being, there are tons of necessary rules and regulation in the workplace around time-off, email/internet usage, compensation, promotion, employee ratings/rankings to name a few. Some of these rules are necessary to run a successful company. Some of these rules hinder employee morale and engagement. Too many managers will always strictly stick to the rules. All these managers run the risk of disengaged employees and low morale. The ability to balance and challenge rules versus impact is an important one that unfortunately comes innately to a few. The low hanging fruit is not always the best option for all involved. How are you assisting your managers navigate the labyrinth of policies, people and productivity? Can they challenge policies? Do they have the autonomy to make situational decisions that may run counter to set policies? Are they leaders or strictly managers?

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